Letter to the editor
Local pols work hard, says former clerk
December 15, 2010 - Dear Editor,
I feel I must answer the column, "Civic duty," Nov. 10 edition of The Clarkston News. Yes, time in office for an elected official is "public service."
It is public service with long hours and evening meetings; public expectation to attend all events to which you are invited whether during the day or evening; constant public approachability with opinions, complaints, and sometimes compliments; daily watchfulness of the press; attending classes away from home a week at a time; and all without a bonus or promotion no matter how well the job is done.
I happen to believe it is an honorable profession. The article compared it to military service and sacrifice. The military offers many career opportunities and includes so called "perks." It offers higher educational benefits after serving. If you have a higher education, military is a well-paying career with long-term benefits.
Full-time "politicians" need to have an education and life experience to handle the daily obligations of the position.
Why wouldn't this be a career? What other career requires a $5,000-$7,000 expense every four years to keep the job?
Local public officials must spend this and know that someone or a group is out there trying to take the job from them.
The cost is greater the higher level of government office sought. This is a sacrifice that must be given.
It is interesting to note that at the meeting on which you based your article, two of the three Independence Township Board members discussing this matter have government benefits and the other receives corporate benefits.
This letter is not to defend benefits for public officials. It is to remind that we want quality leaders of our township. These officials control a great part of our daily lives. Government is a business and needs to be conducted as one. As Tip O'Neill once said "all politics are local."
Do we want a swinging door of inexperienced persons seeking glory by sacrificing a few months out of their lives with little pay and benefits as a "peace corp" type of official?
Becoming an elected public official is becoming an honorable public servant with many responsibilities, joys and sacrifices. I really loved being one! If I had regret, it would be that I did not begin this career as a younger person.
Best personal regards,